Friday, April 05, 2013

Gun Bill Overview


by Delegate Mike McDermott


What are the provisions of the O’Malley-Brown Gun Bill? The following is a general overview to help you navigate the most significant changes to firearms laws in Maryland following changes made through SB-281 as it passed in the House of Delegates and received concurrence in the Senate.

Firearms/Magazine Changes

  • Exempts all law enforcement officers (active and retired) as well as military personnel from the provisions and restrictions of this act.
  • Designates certain rifles as “Assault Long Guns” on a compiled list which currently contains 45 firearms (including many popular firearms such as the AR-15 and the SKS as well as any of their “Copy Cats”), and bans these delineated firearms for sale in Maryland as of October 1, 2013.
  • Continues the current ban on “Assault Pistols” as delineated on the ban list (has been in effect since 1994).
  • Restricts magazine capacities for all firearms to 10-rounds or less and prohibits the sale of any magazine capable of holding more than 10-rounds.
  • Assault weapons may be transferred through inheritance, and the heir may take possession of the firearm so long as they are not otherwise disqualified from possessing a Regulated Firearm.
  • Assault weapons and magazines may be sold to persons out of state.
  • A person who has purchased or otherwise ordered a banned firearm prior to the October 1, 2013 Effective Date will still be allowed to receive the firearm and possess it even after the Effective Date.

Manufacturers of Firearms

  • Manufacturing facilities are generally exempt from the requirements of this bill.

Licensing Requirements

  • Creates a Handgun Qualification License. In order to purchase a Regulated Firearm (handgun) a person will need to take a Firearm’s Orientation Class consisting of 4-hours of classroom and range training which will cover: state firearm laws, home firearm  safety,handgun mechanisms and operations. The range component of the training includes orientation specific to the firearm involving safe handling. (If someone previously owned a Regulated Firearm, the Firearms Safety and Orientation Class is not required. Also the Maryland Hunter Safety Class/Certification can be taken in lieu of the Firearms Safety/Orientation Class as required.) The person seeking  licensure must also fill out the appropriate application with the Maryland State Police and submit a full set of digital fingerprints. Following a full background check and revue of the applicant and completion of the Safety/Orientation Class, the Secretary of Public Safety shall issue the applicant a Handgun Qualification License which shall be good for 10-years. There are fees associated with this licensure process: $50.00 for the Application Submission coupled with additional fees to be payable to the Central Repository for fingerprint review as well as a separate fee charge for the FBI for their review. There will also be a charge for having the fingerprints received into the system. While some of the fees fluctuate, it is clear the cost for an initial Handgun Qualification License will cost well over $100 payable at the time of the application.

Ammunition Changes

  • Bans a person from possessing any ammunition if they are disqualified from possessing a Regulated Firearm.
  • Bans certain types of bullet compositions (so called “cop killer” bullets)

Mental Health Provisions

  • Restricts a person who is the subject of an Involuntary Commitment from possessing any firearm and requires them to surrender any firearms in their possession to law enforcement for safe keeping. It also provides for a way for an individual to be granted relief from being Disqualified to possess a firearm. This process involves a hearing review and there are fees associated with this process.

  • Applies these restrictions to persons under a Current Ex Parte Order and Orders for Protection.

Md. Senate Votes To Keep DNA Collection On Arrests

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) -- The Maryland Senate has voted to extend a state law that allows police to take DNA samples from arrestees for certain violent crimes.

The Senate voted 39-7 to pass the bill on Thursday, sending it to Gov. Martin O'Malley who supports the law.

The law, which took effect in 2009, was set to expire in December. The measure extends it indefinitely.


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Worcester County Criminal Enforcement Team Press Release

On March 28, 2013, members of the Worcester County Criminal Enforcement Team executed two search and seizure warrants simultaneously at two residences in Berlin, Maryland relating to a three month marijuana distribution investigation. These two residences were located at the Decatur Apartments, Old Ocean City Road and the Homes of Berlin Apartments, Flower Street. As a result of this search and seizure warrant investigators located 189 Grams of Marijuana, 3 grams of crack cocaine, and semi automatic handgun along with various items of paraphernalia to include packaging materials indicating the distribution of marijuana. Mr. Charles L. Johnson, Age 25, of Berlin, Maryland was taken into custody and charged with the following offenses: 

· Possession of Crack Cocaine 
· Possession of Marijuana 
· Possession with intent to distribute Marijuana 
· Unlawful Possession of a regulated firearm 
· Possession of a firearm during a drug trafficking crime 

Mr. Johnson was subsequently committed to the Worcester County Jail on a $100,000.00 bond. During the execution of these search and seizure warrants, the Worcester County Criminal Enforcement Team was assisted by the Berlin Police Department SWAT Team, Worcester County Sheriff’s Office STAR Team, Maryland State Police Gang Unit, Maryland State Police Berlin Barrack, Wicomico County Narcotics Task Force, Worcester County Sheriff’s Office Patrol Division, and Ocean City Police Department Narcotics Unit. 

Foreclosures Surge In 32 States

NEW YORK (MainStreet) — New foreclosures are up, and that could prove to be a drag on the U.S. housing market.

RealtyTrac.com reports that home foreclosures are up 2.26 percent from January to February, and the average price to buy a foreclosed home rose 3.84 percent, to $179,000.

READ: How to buy a home in a short sale

Still, some states are seeing even more significant upticks in foreclosure activity.

Take Oregon, where new rules on judicial foreclosures have taken effect, including measures that mandate mediation between homeowners and lenders. According to "The Oregonian," statewide foreclosures are up by 65 percent from January to February:


"Oregon's seven largest counties collectively reported legal action on 996 properties, according to Gorilla Capital, a Eugene company that buys, redevelops and sells foreclosed homes. Those numbers mostly represent foreclosure cases.

That's 65 percent more cases than seen a month earlier. And it rivals the 1,036 out-of-court foreclosure starts recorded in those counties a year earlier, before legal complications sent most foreclosures into the court system."

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April's Canteen Boutique


Become a DINO

In Maryland, If you are a republican living in one of the below shaded counties, there is a good chance your vote means absolutely nothing. There is such heavy democrat influence that your vote as a republican means squat. In some cases, the democrats beat out the republicans by a margin of 3:1.
There is good news though. If you change your voter registration to democrat, you will be eligible to vote in the primary elections. You will be able to vote against the incumbent who has ignored you for all these years. In Maryland, primary elections can be EXTREMELY close. First, you need to make sure that you live in a district that is dominated by democrats. Go tohttp://mdelect.net to find out who your legislators are.
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Benefit For Leslie Mulligan


STATE HIGHWAY ADMINISTRATION RESURFACES SEVERAL ROADS IN WICOMICO COUNTY

STATE HIGHWAY ADMINISTRATION RESURFACES SEVERAL ROADS IN WICOMICO COUNTY; ALL OVERLAY PROJECTS SCHEDULED FOR COMPLETION BY JUNE 30TH
 
(April 3, 2013) – The Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA) is improving nearly five miles of roads for those who travel in Wicomico County on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.  Weather permitting, the overlay projects, which cost $936,000, will begin Monday, April 8 and be complete before June 30th. 
 
The road patching and resurfacing projects are part of an area wide contract awarded to American Infrastructure, Inc. of Fallston.  Motorists should expect single lane closures Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. until 5 p.m.  SHA will use cones and barrels together with a flagging operation to direct traffic during the resurfacing work.
 
SHA will resurface the following roadways:
 
• Southbound US 13 Business (Salisbury Parkway) between US 50 (Ocean Gateway) and Newton Street;
 
• Southbound US 13 (Fruitland Boulevard) between US 50/US 13 Bypass to the Somerset County line;
 
• Eastbound US 50 Business (Salisbury Parkway) - two sections between Boundary Street to Civic Avenue;
 
• Westbound US 50 (Ocean  Gateway) from Hobbs Road to the US 50/US 13 (Salisbury Bypass); and
 
• MD 347 (Quantico Road) between Chestnut Street to US 50.
 
While SHA and its transportation partners work hard to maintain safe traffic mobility in work zones, each driver needs to actively modify his or her driving style to help prevent crashes. Stay alert and look for reduced speed limits, narrow driving lanes and highway workers.  Slow down and don’t follow too closely. Safer driving. Safer work zones. For everyone.
 
Maryland now features FREE 511 traveler information!  Call 511 or 1-855-GOMD511 or visit: www.md511.org  for current travel information. Sign up to personalize travel route information through MY511 on the website. Remember to use 511 safely - Maryland law restricts hand-held mobile phone use and texting while driving. To visit SHA on Twitter go to http://www.Twitter.com/MDSHA.  To visit SHA on Facebook go to http://www.Facebook.com/MarylandStateHighwayAdministration.

Caption This Photo 4-5-13


Obama Raises Cash In Push For Nancy Pelosi To Become House Speaker Again

President Obama says he wants to work with Republicans, but he raised millions of dollars in California on a two-day trip that ended Thursday to ensure that Rep. Nancy Pelosi becomes speaker again in 2014.

At a pair of big-money fundraisers at the homes of two billionaires in San Francisco, Mr. Obama called Mrs. Pelosi a “fearless leader” whose return to power would make it easier for him to achieve priorities such as climate-change legislation and clean-energy programs.

“I am looking to find areas of common ground with Republicans every single day,” Mr. Obama said. “But having said all that, I know Nancy Pelosi. I’ve seen her courage. I know that she is willing to do the right thing, even when it’s not politically popular. And I want her once again as a fully empowered partner for us to be able to move our agenda forward.”

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Prison Inmates Carrying Guns

Shocking video reveals prison inmates carry guns, take drugs, drink beer and even hang out in the city centre of New Orleans

The film from Orleans Parish Prison - which even showed one inmate holding a gun -was revealed during a federal hearing on plans to refurbish and improve the jail.
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HealthFest Set For Salisbury April 6

SALISBURY -- Peninsula Regional Medical Center and the Wicomico County Board of Education invite everyone on the Delmarva Peninsula to join them for HealthFest: An event for all ages, on Saturday, April 6, from 7:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.

This year’s event, a showcase of healthy exhibits and health screenings, is free and open to the public at James M. Bennett High School.

Over 25 free health screenings will be available the day of the event and without pre-registration. The health screenings, performed by Peninsula Regional Medical Center healthcare specialists and other area healthcare providers, will be available to anyone looking to find out how healthy they actually are, and to learn what they can do to lead an even healthier and more productive lifestyle. Blood glucose and cholesterol screenings are included and require a 12 hour fast by participants.

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Italian Poker Club

Seven retired Italian Floridian fellows were playing poker in the condo clubhouse when Guido loses $500 on a single-hand, clutches his chest, and drops dead at the table.

Showing respect for their fallen comrade,the other five continue playing, but standing up.

At the end of the game, Giovanni looks around and asks, "So, who's gonna' tell his wife?" They cut the cards. Pasquale picks the low card and has to carry the news. They tell him to be discreet, be gentle, don't make a bad situation any worse. "Discreet? I'm the most discreet person you'll ever meet. Discretion is my middle name. Leave it to me!"

So, Pasquale goes over to the Guido's condo and knocks on the door.

The wife answers through the door and asks what he wants? Pasquale declares: "Your husband just lost $500 in a poker game and is afraid to come home."

"Tell him to drop dead!" yells the wife.

Petition Launched To Keep Drunk Driver In Jail; Va. Man Not Eligible For Parole Until Next Year

OCEAN CITY -- A petition circulating calling for the denial of parole for a Virginia man who struck and killed a pedestrian in Ocean City last year gained momentum this week with nearly 3,000 signatures, but despite a pending hearing, the defendant is not eligible for release until February 2014 at the earliest.

Family and friends of Matthew Jude Cheswick, a 2008 graduate of Glenelg High School and Towson University student who was struck and killed by drunk driver on Coastal Highway on May 28 last year, recently launched a petition they intend to forward to the Maryland Parole Commission and the Worcester County Circuit Court seeking a denial of an early parole for the convicted defendant, Diogo Miller Facchini, who pleaded guilty last September to negligent homicide by motor vehicle and was sentenced in November to five years in prison.

The petition started late last week when friends and family learned Facchini was already eligible for a parole hearing, if not an early release, and by late yesterday already included 2,809 signatures.

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Powerhouse Gym Donates To Homeless Pets

Powerhouse Gym owners Wayne & Gary Bromwell and trainer Mende Todd presenting a check for $1,600.00 to Suzette Stitely (Executive Director of Baywater Animal Rescue).  This was the proceeds from their Giving Power to the Pets 5K & Family Dog Walk held on March 23rd.

Police Continue To Sift Through Months Of Evidence In Accomack County Arson Investigation

Accomack, Va. – State police investigators must now sift through five months of evidence before charging Tonya Bundick and Charles Smith with more of the 77 arsons in Accomack County since last November.

State police say they’re confident that the couple is behind the majority of those fires, but currently they are only charged with one.

More charges are expected as investigators go through the mountain of evidence they’ve collected in five months.

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Gun Control For Dummies - It's Common Sense

WICOMICO COUNTY CONTINUES TO OFFER FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE FOR SEPTIC SYSTEM UPGRADES

(Salisbury, MD) – The Wicomico County Health Department is reminding county residents that funds are still available from its Chesapeake Bay Restoration Fund grant. The money can be used to upgrade septic systems with technology that will reduce nutrients entering our county’s groundwater. In addition to existing septic systems, new construction may also eligible for a financial award. Property owners are asked to submit their 2011 federal tax return along with a simple, one page application. For questions, or for an application, residents may call the Department of Environmental Health at (410) 546-4446 or visit www.wicomicohealth.org.

Bungled Response Revealed In Md. Double Fatal Fire

A fire engine took a wrong turn and got stuck trying to turn around on its way to a fatal house fire near Myersville, delaying the crew's response time by more than an hour, according to a report by the Frederick County Division of Fire and Rescue Services.

The post-incident analysis obtained by The Frederick News-Post identifies several deficiencies and mistakes with respect to directions and firefighter accountability during the Jan. 31 fire in the 3900 block of Highland Avenue.

Sisters Madigan Grace Lillard, 3, and Sophie Paige Lillard, 6, died of smoke inhalation in the blaze. Four other members of the Lillard family were hospitalized, including 8-year-old Morgan Lillard, who spent eight days in a burn unit at Children's National Medical Center in Washington before being released Feb. 8.

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Eastern Shore Student Business Plan Competition 2013

What: Eastern Shore Student Business Plan Competition 2013

When: Registration & Submission of Executive Summary Deadline: April 19th, 2013

Selection of 5 Semi-Finalists for Lower Shore: April 24, 2013

Semi-Final Presentation Round: May 9, 2013 @ 6:00pm

Upload revised Executive Summary for 3 Semi-Finalists: May 10, 2013

Final Presentation Round: May 17, 2013

Where: Registration Deadline & All Submissions: Online

Selection of Semi-Finalists: Wor-Wic Community College/ Guerrieri Hall Theater

Finals: TBD

Cost: FREE

Registration: To Register, Please Visit www.shorebizplan.com
Description:

MCE (Maryland Capital Enterprises) and ESEC (Eastern Shore Entrepreneurship Center) are excited to once again hold a Student Business Plan Competition on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. The purpose of this competition is to promote and encourage the idea of starting or owning a business among college and high school students. The competition is intended to motivate students to assess their own skill sets and characteristics in relation to areas of existing personal interest or knowledge in which they could successfully make a living and possibly create jobs for themselves and others on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.
Open to individuals or teams, the competition seeks unique, innovative, and scalable business plans that could be fundable for any idea of a commercial endeavor. All submissions must be the original work of those making the submission and must describe a new or early-stage company. Semi-Final judges will occur by district (Chesapeake – Upper and Mid-Shore Counties; Wor-Wic – Lower Shore Counties). All winners from each district advance to an Eastern Shore Final Judging. 
Semi-Finalist Awards in each District Include: 

First Place - $500 Cash

Second Place - $250 Cash

Third Place - $100 Cash

Eastern Shore Finalist Awards Include:

First Place - $1,000 Cash

Second Place - $500 Cash

Third Place - $250 Cash
Complete details about eligibility, rules, and submission are available at www.shorebizplan.com.

"Connor's Law" Sent To Governor

The Maryland Senate has unanimously approved legislation requiring all public swimming pools be equipped with an automated external defibrillator, or AED.

The bill is known as "Connor's Law."

It is named for 5-year-old Connor Freed.

In 2006, Freed drowned underneath an empty lifeguard chair at a Crofton pool.

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Debt = Serfdom

Debt-serfdom and the dominance of Financial Power are two sides of the same coin.

Let's be clear about three things:

1. Too Big to Fail financialization is the metastasizing cancer that has crippled democracy and capitalism.

2. Financialization feeds on expanding debt and cannot survive without it.

3. Debt is serfdom. I have covered this in depth for years:

The New Road to Serfdom: A Negative-Equity Mortgage (May 9, 2006)
The Company Store, Debt and Serfdom (October 24, 2008)
Debt-Serfdom Is Now the New American Norm (October 18, 2011)
The Origins of American Debt-Serfdom (October 19, 2011)
EU Fiscal Union = EU Debt Serfdom (December 7, 2011)
Debt Serfdom in One Chart (May 4, 2012)
By Incentivizing Debt, We've Guaranteed Debt-Serfdom and Stagnation (June 12, 2012)
The Road to Debt-Serfdom (January 25, 2013)

There are three key dynamics to debt-serfdom:

A. The serf is never free of debt, i.e. he/she is programmed to being indebted for life.

B. Most of the serf's income is devoted to servicing debt.

C. Most of the debt is unproductive: marginal-utility college education, needless auto loan, leveraged McMansion that loses value in the inevitable speculative bust, and so on.
There are many ways to state these fundamentals and shelfloads of books have been written to describe the many mechanisms of financialization and serfdom, but we can summarize the dynamics in a few additional points:

Troopers Launch Mobile Crime Tip App

Dover- The Delaware State Police and Delaware.gov in conjunction with Delaware Interactive, LLC have just launched a new mobile Tip Line application on both Android and iOS platforms. Troopers receive crime tips from various sources: email, a toll-free hotline, and an online submission through its website. The new Mobile Tip Line provides an additional, convenient, method where anyone can submit a crime tip straight from their mobile device.

You can learn more about the DSP by visiting http://dsp.delaware.gov/. The app is free to both Android and iOS users and available for download athttp://www.delaware.gov/apps/

The DSP Tip Line application provides a mobile solution for accepting crime tips allowing users to report information such as location, activity description, subject description, vehicle description, and even a photograph. The user also has the option to submit anonymously. All crime tips are passed directly to the DSP team via an email to preapproved recipients.

Apart from the mobile application, anyone who wishes to submit a tip may do so by calling the toll-free number 800-TIP-3333, emailing the DSP directly at crimestoppers@state.de.us or by submitting an online form located at https://www.tipsubmit.com/WebTips.aspx?AgencyID=346

“The Delaware State Police continue to utilize technology as a force multiplier to combat and solve crime,” said Sergeant Paul G. Shavack, Director of Public Information for the Delaware State Police. “By the use of smart phone technology, we want to make it as easy and convenient as possible to provide anonymous tips on crimes and criminal activity. When the public becomes involved and provides crime tips, it helps keep their communities safe.”

This mobile application responds to the administration’s eGovernment directive for enhanced citizen access. “We’re committed to creating new and convenient eGovernment tools for Delaware,” said Greg Hughes, Director of the Delaware Government Information Center (GIC), which leads eGovernment efforts in the First State. “Delaware Governor Jack Markell has directed us to look for ways to make government more efficient, effective and open; mobile apps and eGovernment tools like this one will help us meet that goal.”

Maryland Triples Hollywood Tax Breaks While Gas Prices, Taxes Climb

Maryland legislators are doing all they can to attract more Hollywood productions to their state. All the while local residentsanticipate higher gas prices and watch as their taxes continue to climb, according to the Maryland Reporter.
An emergency bill expanding existing tax credits for film and TV production from $7.5 million to $25 million passed in the House of Delegates Tuesday , 108 votes to 31.Some state Democrats defended the Hollywood tax incentives as being beneficial to the local economy.
"There’s probably not many programs that have a demonstrated success rate like this one does,” said Del. Melony Griffith, D-Prince George’s.
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St. Jude Benefit Walk This Weekend

OCEAN CITY -- For the 10th year, participants can raise money for the treatment of cancer-stricken children and research for a cancer cure by walking the Boards in Ocean City.

The Annual Let's Walk the Boards for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital takes place on Saturday, April 6, 2013, on the Ocean City Boardwalk. Registration starts at 9 a.m. in front of the Tram Station at the south end of the boardwalk.

Since its founding in 1962, St. Jude Children’s Hospital has treated over 20,000 children from the United States and 70 foreign countries, without regard to race, religion, or ability to pay. Contributions are used prudently, with 81 cents of every dollar going to the current or future needs of the hospital. St. Jude Children’s Hospital is the leading researcher of childhood cancer, pediatric AIDS and genetic immune disorders. Cancer survivor rates for Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia are miraculous, with 94% of patients surviving today compared to 4% in 1962.

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Excellent 2nd Amendment Article

Edward J. Erler
California State University,
San Bernardino

The Second Amendment as an Expression of First Principles

EDWARD J. ERLER is professor of political science at California State University, San Bernardino. He earned his B.A. from San Jose State University and his M.A. and Ph.D. in government from the Claremont Graduate School. He has published numerous articles on constitutional topics in journals such as Interpretation, the Notre Dame Journal of Law, and the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy. He was a member of the California Advisory Commission on Civil Rights from 1988-2006 and served on the California Constitutional Revision Commission in 1996. He is the author of The American Polity and co-author of The Founders on Citizenship and Immigration.

The following is adapted from a lecture delivered on February 13, 2013, at Hillsdale College’s Kirby Center for Constitutional Studies and Citizenship in Washington, D.C.

We are currently mired in a frantic debate about the rights of gun owners. One example should suffice to prove that the debate has become hysterical: Second Amendment supporters, one prominent but less than articulate member of Congress alleges, have become “enablers of mass murder.”

Special animus has been directed against so-called assault rifles. These are semi-automatic, not automatic weapons—the latter have been illegal under federal law since the 1930s—because they require a trigger pull for every round fired. Some semi-automatic firearms, to be sure, can be fitted with large-capacity magazines. But what inspires the ire of gun control advocates seems to be their menacing look—somehow they don’t appear fit for polite society. No law-abiding citizen could possibly need such a weapon, we are told—after all, how many rounds from a high-powered rifle are needed to kill a deer? And we are assured that these weapons are not well-adapted for self-defense—that only the military and the police need to have them.

Now it’s undeniable, Senator Dianne Feinstein to the contrary notwithstanding, that semi-automatic weapons such as the AR-15 are extremely well-adapted for home defense—especially against a crime that is becoming more and more popular among criminals, the home invasion. Over the past two decades, gun ownership has increased dramatically at the same time that crime rates have decreased. Combine this with the fact that most gun crimes are committed with stolen or illegally obtained weapons, and the formula to decrease crime is clear: Increase the number of responsible gun owners and prosecute to the greatest extent possible under the law those who commit gun-related crimes or possess weapons illegally.

Consider also that assault rifles are rarely used by criminals, because they are neither easily portable nor easily concealed. In Chicago, the murder capital of America—a city with draconian gun laws—pistols are the weapon of choice, even for gang-related executions. But of course there are the horrible exceptions—the mass shootings in recent years—and certainly we must keep assault weapons with high-capacity magazines out of the hands of people who are prone to commit such atrocities.

The shooters in Arizona, Colorado, and Newtown were mentally ill persons who, by all accounts, should have been incarcerated. Even the Los Angeles Times admits that “there is a connection between mental illness and mass murder.” But the same progressives who advocate gun control also oppose the involuntary incarceration of mentally ill people who, in the case of these mass shootings, posed obvious dangers to society before they committed their horrendous acts of violence. From the point of view of the progressives who oppose involuntary incarceration of the mentally ill—you can thank the ACLU and like-minded organizations—it is better to disarm the entire population, and deprive them of their constitutional freedoms, than to incarcerate a few mentally ill persons who are prone to engage in violent crimes.

And we must be clear—the Second Amendment is not about assault weapons, hunting, or sport shooting. It is about something more fundamental. It reaches to the heart of constitutional principles—it reaches to first principles. A favorite refrain of thoughtful political writers during America’s founding era held that a frequent recurrence to first principles was an indispensable means of preserving free government—and so it is.

NYFC. Long Waits

The New York Fried Chicken restaurant on Main Street and Rt. 13 is doing very well right out of the gate. I have a feeling this business will continue to do very well in Salisbury. 

Unemployment Aid Applications Jump To 385,000

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The number of Americans seeking unemployment aid rose last week by 28,000, the third straight increase.

Weekly applications increased to a seasonally adjusted 385,000, the Labor Department said Thursday. That’s the highest level since late November. The gain pushed the four-week average, a less volatile measure, to 354,250.

A Labor Department spokesman says the figures may have been affected by the Easter holiday. The department says the holiday’s timing varies from year to year, which makes it difficult to adjust for school closings and other seasonal factors that can alter the data.

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The Thousand Yard Stare

The Syrian boy soldier with a thousand-yard stare: The sad image of child aged SEVEN
Puffing on a cigarette, a Kalashnikov AK-47 slung awkwardly across his little shoulders, seven-year-old Ahmed stands at a makeshift barricade in Syria.

He is one of the youngest fighters to be swept into his country’s civil war and something in his blank expression seems to hint at horrors that no child of his age should ever have to witness.

The picture was taken in the neighbourhood of Salahadeen, one of the front lines in the battered city of Aleppo.

Assateague Rebounding Six Months After Sandy

ASSATEAGUE -- Six months after Hurricane Sandy ravaged Assateague Island, severely eroding beaches and destroying many man-made structures, the barrier island is springing back to life and is largely ready for another summer season, but some reminders of the storm are still present.

The Assateague Island National Seashore took a severe beating when Hurricane Sandy roared through the area in late October with considerable erosion to the beaches, which breached in a few spots, and to the natural and man-made dune line. The front of the dune line sheared off on the ocean side leaving sand fences, railings and other structures completely erased or dangling from their supports in many cases.

The beaches were littered with storm debris including battered sand fences, drift wood, relics from former storms and shipwrecks and most noticeably, old tires. In the 1970s, thousands of old tires were banded together to create an artificial reef off the coast, which seemed at the time to be a good idea, but the reef has broken apart over the decades and the tires are often deposited on the beach at Assateague after storms and Sandy was no different. In the days after the storm last fall, tires could be seen strewn on the beach as far as the eye could see.

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Gun Bill Update: House Passes Amended Version

Dark Clouds on the Horizon…By Delegate Mike McDermott

After two significant days of prolonged debate and scores of attempts at amendments, the House of Delegates finally passed the O’Malley-Brown Gun Bill on a 78-61 vote Wednesday evening. It was introduced to the floor by the Baltimore City Delegation, which curtly announced in a heated exchange that they would oppose any amendments to the legislation. Most attempts to mitigate it were indeed thwarted by the Democrat supermajority.

At the beginning of Tuesday’s session, I was able to pass a “friendly” floor amendment that altered the bill’s firearms qualification component to a “firearms orientation,” addressing safety and proper handling. This significant change minimizes the time it would take for future applicants to fulfill the training component for a Handgun Qualification License. There were also a few lesser, technical amendments adopted. Here is a link for the 27 amendments offered during the second reader debate on the House floor.

While all of the amendments were thoughtful, a couple stirred particularly lively debate. One offered by Delegate Mike Smigiel (R-Cecil) sought to eliminate special credits received by inmates incarcerated for gun-related crimes. Delegates strongly emphasized that the Governor’s gun bill did nothing to address gun criminals, but focused solely on creating more regulations that could turn law-abiding citizens into criminals. Another amendment which I offered sought to correct an anomaly in the law, which prohibits an off-duty police officer from being armed while on school grounds. At a time when we are trying to place more police on our campuses, getting rid of this ridiculous law made a lot of sense. Sadly, it was resisted by several delegates from Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties, whose reasoning was nothing short of absurd. Imagine, in light of the Sandy Hook Elementary massacre, lawmakers arguing that the presence of an armed police officer in a school is somehow a “bad thing” to be avoided.


Apparently an overwhelming response to the rejection of my amendment prompted a change of heart in the Governor’s office, and with some adjustments, it was adopted the next day. We had hoped to have at least a 24-hour period to review the changes in the bill, but the leadership had it on the fast track. Republicans continued to make efforts to soften it by offering an additional 21 amendments, some of which would have eliminated sections dealing with the banning of specific firearms or the licensing of those wishing to purchase them.

Hours passed into the night as each drafted amendment was presented, debated, and voted on by the House. Ultimately, the bill was altered following the adoption of all committee amendments and a very few floor amendments, but its significant flaws such as gun owner licensing, rifle bans, and magazine capacity restrictions remained unchanged.


Here is a summation of the arguments offered for and against the bill:

Those who hail from the urban block counties (Baltimore City, Prince George’s, and Montgomery) all spoke glowingly about how the legislation would reduce violence and gun crimes. They spoke about the funerals they attend and the manner of death that many in their districts suffer at the hands of bad guys using firearms. It was clear that they view guns as a threat and that they see no need for anyone to own certain types of firearms. Statistically, they could offer no evidence of a straw purchase problem in Maryland, but that did not stop them from claiming that the bill would put an end to it by requiring folks to get fingerprinted before purchasing a regulated firearm. They brandished their ignorance of firearms for all to see, and displayed a fear of anyone bearing one - including the police.
Those who reside in the rest of the state had quite a different view and passionately explained their desire to hold sacred the Second Amendment to the US Constitution. Many quoted the Founding Fathers as they addressed the body, and spoke against the provisions in the bill that would turn upstanding citizens into potential criminals, while doing nothing to stop real lawbreakers. In essence, the legislation will only keep law-abiding Marylanders from having access to some very popular firearms that have been deemed too bad and scary.

I stated clearly that there are two Marylands, holding views on firearms that are polar opposites: one of fear and one of acceptance. I also challenged my metropolitan colleagues, pointing out that assault weapon bans imposed in the 1990s for ten years coincided with some of the worst years for Baltimore City homicides. Clearly, bans do not lower crime. Conversely, I pointed out that the parts of the country that have increased the liberty of their citizens to acquire wear and carry permits have also seen drastic reductions in their murder rates. The problems addressed by my friends from the cities will not be solved with this bill or with with new school buildings. Maryland’s government has driven away much-needed jobs, and most of our anti-poverty money has been thrown down a dark well with little or no accountability. I noted that we continue in failing to ask the right questions and banishing the wrong things. The gun crimes in Baltimore City will continue until the family unit is strengthened and order is restored to this basic unit of self-governance. I declared that nothing will change until we take a hard look in the mirror and examine our failed and flawed programs.

Because of this ban we will see the loss of many businesses and jobs in Maryland, as firearm manufacturers relocate to more welcoming states. Companies such as Beretta Arms (Charles Co.), Benelli Arms (Worcester Co.), and LWRC (Dorchester Co.), along with several others, employ over 1,000 Marylanders and bring in revenues to the state coffers exceeding $500 million. Their owners are being courted by multiple states with lower tax burdens, and a strong desire to support their market share as opposed to declaring them manufacturers of “bad” or “evil” products. Who can blame the ownership for making a moral decision to take their business elsewhere?

I’m sure my words resonated with many in the chamber, but the work is great and politicians look for soundbite fixes to generational problems. It is simply easier to identify the enemy as an object, place it on a “Banned List,” and claim victory. This is the standard practice of those who merely seek further election, rather than try to leave their world better than they found it.

Our state is already ranked dead last in the country in terms of personal liberty and freedom; the passage of Senate Bill 281 would secure this position for a generation yet to come.


What is Next?

Moving forward, there has been talk of a public referendum on SB 281. So long as there is a financial backer such as the NRA to support this endeavor with big bucks, a referendum would have a good chance of passage in 2014. But without an influx of capital to support the measure, the end result could be detrimental - as we saw during the referendum initiatives last November, which gave birth to many of the problems we have experienced during this session.
Right now individuals are pursuing and confronting large businesses and entities on their continued support of the elected officials who supported this terrible bill (along with other bills, no doubt). By simply searching the Maryland State Board of Elections website, individuals and groups can identify those that need to be contacted and pressured to abandon their support of gun control advocates. Some organizations have already begun this process and have succeeded in persuading entire union organizations to retreat from their positions of support for certain candidates who voted against their interests on this particular bill. It truly resonates with the people.

I suggest that these types of projects be performed by groups of citizens and that they send a letter to the supporters of legislators favorable to the gun bill, followed by an arranged meeting where the point can be pressed home. We should find that many folks know very little about the votes being taken by the politicians they are told to support.

The work begins now as we move forward into an election cycle. As I write this, I have been informed that the Senate has amended the bill with two changes and that it will now go into a Conference Committee with the House before it can be voted out of both chambers. I will follow up with more information when the final bill is either defeated or sent to the governor’s desk.

Marylanders, take back your state!

Thoroughbreds Compete For CANTER At Wicomico Equestrian Center

The elegance and power of Thoroughbred horses shine on Saturday, April 6 at the first all-Thoroughbred “Racing to Ribbons” Thoroughbred Festival at Wicomico Equestrian Center. The show benefits CANTER, the Communication Alliance to Network Thoroughbred Ex-Racehorses.
The horses (and riders) will compete in over 40 classes with as much variety as a horse show can offer – lead-line with children under seven years old being led around the ring, jump courses demanding power and precision, the elegance of dressage, and the it’s-a-lot-more-than-just-sitting-on-the-horse equitation classes.
All of the horses are Thoroughbreds, the breed best known for competing in the Triple Crown of racing. Finding homes and second careers for off-the-track Thoroughbreds is a challenge for the industry and breeders. CANTER is an organization devoted to helping solve the problem by showing the horses’ talents in other riding activities and arranging for adoption and sale of Thoroughbreds to new owners and new homes.
According to show manager Tami Tritapoe, the level of support from the businesses – most of which are not horse-related – has been exceptional. “We have some amazing people and businesses supporting out endeavor to help TB ex-racers. I can’t express the gratitude I feel for the financial backing and also for the room full of cool stuff folks have generously offered for prizes and raffles.”
The premier local sponsor is Sherwood Auto Group, which donated $1,000 prize money for the Hunter Derby, a challenging jumping competition. A partial list of other supporters includes Farmers & Planters, Hebron Savings Bank, Layfield Veterinary Services, Market Street Inn, Panera Bread, Dellwood Trailer Sales, Expert Collision Repair, McIntyre and Parks Custom Bulders, Chesapeake Landscaping, Chick’s Farm & Feed, and Diane Bloxam’s WinAway Farm.
The Thoroughbred Festival kicks off the show season at the Wicomico Equestrian Center at Winterplace Park in Salisbury. Ten horse shows are currently planned between April and September. These include shows featuring Paint Horses, Western riding, dressage, and hunter/jumper competitions. A former horse farm and training center, the Equestrian Center is known for its exceptional show areas, with large sand arenas, jump fields, and grass show arenas.
Competition at the Thoroughbred Festival begins at 8:00 a.m. on Saturday, April 6. Classes and competition will occur simultaneously in several show rings at the Center. Spectators are welcome, free of charge. For more information about the “Racing to Ribbons” Thoroughbred Festival, visit the Festival’s Facebook Page:https://www.facebook.com/TFAWP. For more information about CANTER, visit their website: http://www.canterusa.org/. For more information about the Wicomico Equestrian center, including the schedule for the summer horse shows, visit http://www.wicomicoequestriancenter.org

Beretta Leaves Maryland Because Of Stricter Gun Laws

New legislation is forcing gun manufacturing company Beretta to uproot and take their business elsewhere.

Established in 1526, Beretta holds the distinction of being the oldest active firearms manufacturer in the world. The U.S. factory is located in Accokeek, Maryland, and has been a staple of the local economy for years.

Beretta warned that stricter gun control laws would push the company outside of state lines, but that didn’t stop Maryland legislators. Jeffrey Reh, a spokesman for Beretta who also serves as the President of Stoeger Industries under Beretta, announced that the company would begrudgingly uproot and take its business elsewhere. He said, “We don’t want to do this, we’re not willing to do this, but obviously this legislation has caused us a serious level of concern within our company.”

More 

Not Even Gold Will Save You From What Is Coming

Marc Faber, who authors the Gloom Boom & Doom newsletter, is usually pretty bearish on stocks and bullish on gold.
Lately, though, gold doesn't seem like it can catch a bid.

"Despite the continued reverberations regarding the Cyprus bailout and its involvement of bank deposits, gold struggled to maintain the positive momentum created in the first two weeks of March and instead now looks very likely to move lower, towards $1580/oz," wrote Deutsche Bank commodities analyst Xiao Fu in a note this morning.

So, what does Faber have to say about it?

This morning, on Bloomberg Surveillance with Tom Keene and Alix Steel, Dr. Doom was asked why gold wasn't holding up.

Charles Manson Supporter Arrested

Charles Manson supporter arrested after he tried to smuggle a cell phone into jail for the cult leader

One of Charles Manson's supporters was arrested after he tried to smuggle a cell phone into a California prison to the cult leader.
More

BREAKING NEWS: EMPLOYERS ADD JUST 88,000 JOBS IN MARCH AS HIRING SLOWS

The Labor Department says employers added just 88,000 jobs in March, while the unemployment rate dipped to 7.6 percent as more people stopped looking for work.

From Fox News

COMPREHENSIVE PUBLIC SAFETY PACKAGE PASSES MARYLAND LEGISLATURE

ANNAPOLIS, MD – Governor Martin O’Malley applauded final passage of SB 281- The Firearm Safety Act of 2013. The legislation, sponsored by the Administration, is a comprehensive approach to addressing gun safety and violence prevention in Maryland.“With today’s vote, Maryland has chosen to enact a comprehensive, common sense approach to licensing and gun safety, a ban on the sale of military-style assault weapons and high capacity magazines, and meaningful improvements to mental health treatment and data-sharing - striking a balance between protecting the safety of law enforcement and our children, and respecting the traditions of hunters and law-abiding citizens to purchase handguns for self-protection,” said Governor O’Malley. “We appreciate the hard work of Senate President Miller, Speaker Busch, floor leaders Senator Brian Frosh and Delegate Kathleen Dumais, and members of the General Assembly. Together, with a strong coalition of advocates, and the people of Maryland who overwhelmingly support policies to reduce gun violence, we’ve chosen to take action by advancing the strategies that work to save lives.”

Lt. Governor Brown led the Administration’s community outreach efforts on the Firearm Safety Act. In addition to testifying in support of the proposal alongside the Governor, he held several public town halls around the State where he engaged hundreds of Maryland residents on the need to improve the safety of our communities, strengthen mental health and protect our schools.“As leaders, we have a responsibility to keep Maryland safe; to prevent senseless violence from threatening our collective potential – violence that takes our children from us too soon and destroys our neighborhoods,” said Lt. Governor Brown. “The Firearm Safety Act of 2013 is an essential tool in that effort, and makes Maryland a safer place to live, work, and raise a family. Today, with the General Assembly, we took an important step towards making our schools safer and reducing gun violence throughout our state. I want to thank the General Assembly for taking action on this critical legislation, as well as the advocates and community members whose hard work made the passage of this bill possible.”
Gun Safety

The legislation includes a ban on assault weapons; a limit on the capacity of a magazine from 20 to 10 rounds; fingerprint licensing requirements on future handgun purchases; and restrictions on possession of firearms and ammunition by persons prohibited by prior criminal offenses and mental health disqualifications.

“From a law enforcement perspective, we know that common sense reforms like requiring licenses to purchase handguns work,” said Jim Johnson, Chief of the Baltimore County Police Department, and Chair of the National Law Enforcement Partnership to Prevent Gun Violence. “I applaud Governor O’Malley and the General Assembly for taking these important steps to make Maryland's families safer.”“Governor O'Malley has a history of driving down violent crime by focusing on strategies that work,” said Prince George's County State’s Attorney Angela Alsobrooks. “I commend the Governor and the General Assembly for focusing on common sense initiatives that will make our families, our neighborhoods, and our communities safer.”
Mental Health

The legislation passed today provides a comprehensive approach to safeguarding mental health and making improvements to services to ensure that individuals are not deterred from seeking treatment, but those identified as dangerous are prohibited from possessing firearms. The plan includes information sharing among federal and state partners for background checks, improving mental health services in Maryland, and establishing a Department of Health and Mental Hygiene-led Task Force to Improve Continuity of Care for Individuals in the Community Mental Health System.

WICOMICO COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE MOST WANTED

If you know of or observe any of the following persons, please call the Sheriff's Office at
410-548-4891


 Maurice Eugene Johnson Sr.
     
  •  Black Male, 6’04” 172 lbs
  •  DOB 02/04/1971 42 years of age
  •  Black hair, Brown eyes
  •  Johnson’s last known address was Salisbury MD
  •  Johnson is wanted by the Sheriff’s Office on a 2 Circuit Court    Bench Warrants, both issued for Failure to Appear for a Violation of Probation Hearing in February 2013 on the charges of Constructive Criminal Contempt
  •  There is no preset bond, he must be brought before the court
  •  Johnson may be ARMED and has a history of DRUG ABUSE

Kelly Edward Cox
  •  White Male, 5’11” 150 lbs
  •  DOB 08/20/1953 59 years of age
  •  Black hair, Hazel eyes
  •  Cox’s last known address was Salisbury MD
  •  Cox is wanted by the Sheriff's Office on a District Court Bench Warrant issued in October 2005 for Violation for Probation on multiple counts of Forgery of a Private Document, Uttering a False Document, Theft under $500, Theft Scheme over $500
  •  And on a Circuit Court Bench Warrant issued for Failure to Appear in July 2005 for a Jury Trial on multiple traffic charges
  •  There is no preset bond, he must be brought before the court
  •  Warnings

Marcus Antwane Ewell

  • Black Male, 5’07” 160 lbs
  • DOB 05/01/1990 22 years of age
  • Black hair, Brown eyes
  • Ewell’s last known address was Salisbury, MD
  • Ewell is wanted by the Sheriff’s Office for Failure to Appear in March 2010 for a Drug Court Review Hearing on the charge of CDS Possess with intent Distribute
  • There is no preset bond, he must be brought before the court
  • Ewell has a history of being a DRUG ABUSE

Florence Virginia Harris
  •  Black Female,  5’00”  200 lbs
  •  DOB 02/05/1962     51 years of age
  •  Black hair, Brown eyes
  •  Harris’ last known address was Salisbury MD
  •  Harris also uses the name Florence or Florene White and Claudea or Claudean Williams
  •  Harris is wanted by the Sheriff’s Office on a Circuit Court Bench Warrant issued for Failure to Appear for a Violation of Probation hearing in November 2012 on the charge of Disorderly Conduct
  •  There is no preset bond, he must be brought before the court
  •  Harris should be APPRAOCHED WITH CAUTION and has history of DRUG ABUSE

Marine On Guard Duty

Every now and then, in the middle of the constant barrage of crap that’s just pissing us all off these days, we come across a story, a feat, an event that just makes us stop in our tracks.

This was one for me.

Cody Green was a 12-year kid in Indiana who was diagnosed with leukemia at 22 months old. He loved the Marines, and his parents said he drew strength and courage from the Marine Corps. as he bravely fought the battle into remission three times. Although he was cancer-free at the time, the chemotherapy had lowered his immune system and he developed a fungus infection that attacked his brain. Two weeks ago, as he struggled to fend off that infection in the hospital, the Marines wanted to show how much they respected his will to live, his strength, honor and courage. They presented Cody with Marine navigator wings and named him an honorary member of the United States Marine Corps.

For one Marine, that wasn’t enough ... so that night, before Cody Green passed away, he took it upon himself to stand guard at Cody’s hospital door all night long, 8 hours straight.

Nowhere on the face of this planet is there a country so blessed as we to have men and women such as this. I wish I could personally tell this Marine how proud he makes me to be an American.

Fatal Crash Mt.Hermon Road @ Sixty Foot Road

MOTOR VEHICLE COLLISION
DATE & TIME: 04/04/2013 @ 1904 hrs C C. CARD NUMBER: 13-54-002591

LOCATION: MD Rt. 350 @ Sixty Foot Rd, Pittsville, Wicomico County, Maryland
Vehicle #1: 2003 White Dodge Van MD (14N931)

Driver #1: Hugh Albert Gingery Jr (06/01/57) (Deceased)
Snow Hill, MD 21863
Vehicle #2: 2002 Gray GMC Sierra Pickup Truck (FD43544)
Driver #2: Jeffery James Dean (11/29/72)
Salisbury, MD 

Passeger: Five year old male that was secured in a child safety seat and was not hurt in the crash
BRIEF RESUME: Vehicle #1, 2003 Dodge van was traveling south on Sixty Foot Rd, when the driver (Hugh Albert Gingery Jr) failed to stop for a posted stop sign located at MD Rt. 350, Pittsville, Wicomico County, MD. As a result of Vehicle #1 failing to stop at the posted stop sign, Vehicle #1 collided with Vehicle #2, 2002 GMC pickup truck that was traveling west on MD. Rt. 350. 

Both vehicles continued and collided into a ditch. Vehicle #1 came to final rest on the driver’s side into a water ditch. The driver of Vehicle #1 was pronounced deceased at the scene. He was not wearing a seat belt and alcohol is believed to be a contributing factor. The driver and passenger of Vehicle #2 were both taken to Peninsula Regional Medical Center with non life threatening injuries. Due to the collision, Emergency personnel closed the road at the above location for several hours for safety. The collision investigation remains on going. MSP was assisted by Parsonsburg and Pittsville Fire Departments. SHA also assisted with all road closures.

Fast Diet Meals

Nina Buckley is a sucker for donuts, McDonald's Big Macs, and Indian takeout — food hankerings that can easily derail any diet devotee's quest to lose weight.

That's why after three months on Weight Watchers, the mother of three found she had actually gained a few pounds.

"It's like being teased with your favorite foods you can't have," said Buckley, 28, who lives in England but is originally from Romania.

Buckley is one of the countless men and women who are grappling with how to eliminate pounds without having to sacrifice a lot of food.